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Bible Lexicons

Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament

Without Blemish

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amomos (Strong's #299) Without Blemish, Without Spot, Faultless

amemptos (Strong's #273) Blameless

anenkletos (Strong's #410)

anepileptos (Strong's #423) Unreprovable, Irreproachable

Amomos, amemptos, anenkletos, and anepileptos all refer to the Christian life and to what its character should be. Words that refer individually to the absence of blemish and blame are easily confused and their distinctiveness lost, though this is not to say that a word that has one of these meanings easily acquires another. For example, the King James Version's translation of amomos illustrates the frequently noted shortcoming of that version. The translators of the authorized Version failed to translate each Greek word by a fixed and corresponding English word. Although it is true that this cannot always be done, why, in this case, did the translators use six different translations for the six different occurrences of amomos?In Ephesians 1:4, amomos is translated "without blame." In Colossians 1:22, amomos is translated "unblamable." In Ephesians 5:27, amomos is translated "without blemish." In Hebrews 9:14, amomos is translated "without spot." In Judges 1:24, amomos is translated "faultless." And in Revelation 14:15, amomos is translated "without fault." In the first two instances, the authorized translators failed to grasp amomos's exact force. No such criticism may be made of the other four translations, since each one is sufficiently accurate, though one may be better than another. It is inaccurate, however, to translate amomos "without blame" or "unblamable," since in later Hellenistic Greek the meaning of momos (Strong's #3470) changed from "blame" to that which is the subject of blamea blot, spot, or blemish. In the same way, amomos became the technical term for the absence of anything amiss in a sacrifice, anything that would render it unworthy to be offered or that would make the sacrificing priest unworthy to offer it ( 1 Maccabees 4:42).

When amomos is used with aspilos (Strong's #784) in1Peter1:19, amomos refers to the absence of internal blemish, and aspilos refers to the lack of external spot. In the Septuagint, amomos is used as an ethical term and consistently refers to the holy behavior of the faithful ( Psalm 119:1; Proverbs 11:5) and, on occasion, is even applied as a title of honor to God himself ( Psalm 18:30). In the Apocrypha, amomos is used with hosios and in the New Testament with anenkletos and hagios. Amomos depicts the complete absence of fault or blemish in whatever it describes.

If amomos is the "unblemished," amemptos is the "unblamed." There is a difference between the two terms. Christ was amomos because there was no spot or blemish in him. Thus he could ask: "Which of you convicts Me of sin?" ( John 8:46). But strictly speaking, Christ was not amemptos, nor is this term ever applied to him in the New Testament, since he endured the persecution of sinners who slandered him and made false charges against him. No matter how the saints of God may strive to be amemptoi, they certainly cannot attain it, for justly or unjustly, others will find fault in them. The amomos may be amemptos, but he does not always prove so. There is always a tendency to regard the inculpatus (blameless) as the inculpabilis (unblamable), so that in actual usage a breakdown occurs in the distinct and separate use of these words. The Old Testament uses of amemptos (as in Job 11:4) sufficiently prove this.

Like anepileptos, the New Testament uses of anenkletos are exclusively Pauline. The authorized Version translates anepileptos as "unreprovable" ( Colossians 1:22) and "blameless" ( 1 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Timothy 3:10; Titus 1:6-7). Chrysostom correctly noted that anepileptos implies not only acquittal but also the absence of any charge or accusation against the person under consideration. Like amomos, anepileptos does not refer to the subjective thoughts and estimates of men but to the objective world of facts. Plutarch accurately used anepileptos with aloidoretos.In1Timothy3:10 there is an obvious allusion to a custom that still survives in our ordinations. At the opening of the ceremony, the ordaining bishop demands whether the faithful who are present know of any notable crime or charge against those who are being presented to him for holy ordination that would disqualify them. In other words, the ordaining bishop demands to know whether those who are to be ordained are anenkletoi, not merely unaccusable but unaccused, not merely free from any just charge but free from any charge at all. The intention of this question is that if anyone present has such a charge to bring, the ordination would not go forward until this matter had been duly decided ( 1 Timothy 3:10).

Anepileptos rarely is used in classical Greek and never is used in the Septuagint or the Apocrypha. Anepileptos is used with katharos, anenkletos teleios, and adiabletos. The authorized Version twice translates it as "blameless" ( 1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Timothy 5:7) and once as "irreprovable" ( 1 Timothy 6:14). "Irreprehensible" would be a more accurate translation, since it rests on the same image as the Greekaffording nothing that an adversary could use as the basis for an accusation. And "unreprehended," if such a word would pass, would be an even more accurate translation.


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Bibliography Information
Trench, Richard C. Entry for 'Without Blemish'. Synonyms of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/trench/103. 1854.

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